The World’s Largest Man

 COLUMBUS, Miss. -- “The World’s Largest Man,” an award-winning satirical memoir by Harrison Scott Key, is the selection for Mississippi University for Women’s 2018-19 Common Reading Initiative.

 The book was chosen by a cross-campus committee of faculty and staff, who were impressed with the author’s narrative on growing up in Mississippi and its balance of authenticity and parody.

“While this is not the first memoir chosen by the selection committee, it is definitely the funniest common read we will have had at MUW,” said Dr. David Brooking, director of the Student Success Center and chair of the committee.

Key was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2016, which is the nation’s highest recognition of humor in writing, for “The World’s Largest Man.” While satire and comedy serve as a common theme throughout the memoir, they are also used to connect instances in the book that focus on childhood, family, faith, prejudice, and socioeconomic/cultural divides.

“We hope to challenge students to explore the nuances of this satirical memoir as well as the complexities of some of these themes,” Brooking said.

While the book is tied to UN101, the university’s freshman seminar, all students, faculty and friends are invited to join the common read. There will be several programming events and a student competition tied to discussions.

Harrison Scott Key teaches writing at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and three children. His nonfiction and humor have appeared in The New York Times, Outside, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, The Best American Travel Writing, Southern Living, Salon, Reader's Digest, Image, Creative Nonfiction, Gulf Coast and Oxford American, where he serves as a contributing editor.

May 3, 2018


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